Jeremy Corbyn Will Forever Live Rent Free in the Heads of Tory MPs
Why Did Liz Truss Mention Jeremy Corbyn in her Speech?
On 5 September 2022, Liz Truss was declared the winner of the Conservative Party leadership election, making her the leader of the party and de facto Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
In an acceptance speech you’d ordinarily expect someone to thank their friends and family, and to list some positives about themselves, however these are not ordinary times and she ran out of good things to say about herself before she even stood up. She did what any Tory MP would do in her position, and fell back on platitudes and a strange comment about Jeremy Corbyn.
This isn’t Corbyn’s first rodeo. Ever since Keir Starmer succeeded him as leader of the Labour Party in April 2020 he has continued to be the target of cheap jibes from the opposition. During Prime Minister's Questions back in May, Boris Johnson referred to Corbyn as “Vladimir Corbyn” when addressing a question from Starmer. Corbyn had not been brought up in questions prior to this, nor had he asked a question himself. Ironically, in that deranged rant Boris Johnson listed the same four things that Liz Truss mentioned in her acceptance speech: Brexit, vaccines, Ukraine, and Corbyn.
Of the myriad of stupid things Truss said in her speech, name dropping Jeremy Corbyn was the only thing that made me do a double take. I’m not a Corbyn fan but I could just imagine this man in his mid 70’s sitting down to have an early lunch, watching along with the rest of us for a bit of comedic light relief, to once again hear his name where it wasn’t relevant. Corbyn has not been leader of the opposition for over two years so the question is why, after all this time, do members of the Conservative Party continuously mention the man who supposedly had the worst electoral performance in recent history, and who has really no influence on the opposition party at all?
The football fans amongst you will be aware of a man named Jose Mourinho. Described as “The Special One”, Mourinho is probably best known for his role as football manager of Chelsea and Real Madrid, having won several league titles and two Champions League titles in his illustrious managerial career. At his peak he was easily one of the best managers in the world. While he was tactically adept on the pitch, he had one tactic up his sleeve off the pitch that the tabloids and commentators constantly miss-read: distraction.
The role of a coach/manager extends beyond just selecting the players and the tactics, the best will do whatever necessary to squeeze every ounce of performance from their players, and few were better at this than Mourinho. Mourinho understood that the pressure the media and the fans can place on the relatively young footballers can have a negative impact on performance, and so it was his objective to minimise this attention.
Mourinho has a long history of making accusatory comments about match officials, which he knows will come with repercussions in the forms of fines and suspensions. What we once thought was just a man loving the sound of his own voice turned out to be a form of protection for the players from the particularly brutal British media on the occasion that they suffered a particularly bruising loss.
When he lost 3-1 to Liverpool his post match interview lasted less than 60 seconds, with the manager refusing to answer any questions. He was sacked less than 24 hours later, and people were not talking about his players and their poor performances. They were talking about him.
When he clashed with Antonio Conte on the touchline in 2016, the back pages were all speculating what he may have whispered in his rival manager's ear, and not critisising the performances behind the humiliating 4-0 defeat.
Following the 3-0 loss to Tottenham in 2018 he went on a rant in his post match press conference about how many league titles he had won before storming out of the room. Again, all eyes on him and none on the players.
Where Mourinho was tactically adept, the Conservative Party is tactically inept. Though the party appears indefinitely fragmented, what they know instinctively is power and they will always fall back to a position that defends their claim over it. This is the team that they are protecting; their access to power. The deflection and distraction tactics are the same. Gone are the days of debating and scrutinising legitimate policy, the airwaves are now clogged with debates about whether or not the prime minister broke the law, or whether or not the prime minister lied when he denied breaking the law.
Dominic Raab will be sent out to The Andrew Marr Show to make a fool of himself (he doesn’t need to be briefed, it comes naturally to him). He will tell 50 lies, only 5 will be picked up, before we move onto the next segment. So, the next time you hear Liz Truss or any of her colleagues name drop Brexit, vaccines, Ukraine, or Corbyn, have a look in the opposite direction to see what they are distracting you from: economic decline, growing wealth inequality, government corruption, institutional racism, and a culture of brazen bullying and sexual harassment.
If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing, it is free and really helps!